Headlines: APD Chief Says Foul Language Unacceptable, Rodella, WIPP...

Oct 1, 2014

Credit Still from APD video footage March 16, 2014

Chief: Foul Language 'Completely Unacceptable'The Associated Press

Albuquerque's police chief says it's "completely unacceptable" that an officer used foul language and called a man he later fatally shot a "lunatic."

Chief Gorden Eden told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Officer Keith Sandy violated department policy when he used an expletive to describe a 38-year-old man struggling with mental illness.

Authorities say Sandy was one of two officers who shot James Boyd following an hours-long standoff in the Sandia foothills in March. That shooting later sparked a violent protest in Albuquerque and an FBI investigation.

In a recording released Monday, Sandy is heard telling a New Mexico State Police sergeant that Boyd was a lunatic who he planned to shoot.

The sergeant later said Sandy was referring to using a stun gun.

Ex-Police Sergeant Convicted Of Careless Driving - The Associated Press

The trial of a former Albuquerque police sergeant in a criminal case stemming from a 2013 off-duty accident that killed a 21-year-old woman has ended with a guilty verdict.

However, District Court jurors yesterday convicted Adam Casaus of careless driving but not vehicular homicide as he was charged.

The jurors began deliberating Monday after lawyers gave closing arguments. The trial lasted a week.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office said Casaus ran through a red light with his emergency lights on but without his siren activated when he struck a vehicle killing Ashley Browder.

Casaus' shift was over but he told investigators that he was looking for a possible drunk driver, though no documentation exists to verify his account.

Report: Convicted New Mexico Sheriff Won't Resign - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A northern New Mexico sheriff convicted of abusing a driver during a traffic stop that prosecutors called a fit of road rage reportedly won't resign.

A jury last Friday convicted Rio Arriba County Sheriff Thomas Rodella of pulling his gun on a driver and violating a 26-year-old man's civil rights.

Rodella faces up to 17 years in prison when he's sentenced Dec. 26 in Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday that Rodella's attorney has told county leaders the sheriff will not resign.

The County Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session Wednesday morning in Espanola.

Santa Fe District Attorney Angela Pacheco says Rio Arriba County "needs to have a duly qualified sheriff to ensure the protection of the public" and the commission needs to appoint a replacement.

Ex-Navajo Leader Pleads Guilty In Criminal Case - The Associated Press

The former Navajo Nation Council speaker has pleaded guilty in a scheme to funnel nearly $37,000 in tribal funds to his family.

Johnny Naize entered the plea Tuesday to conspiracy to commit bribery. His original 11 charges of bribery and conspiracy were dropped in an agreement with prosecutors.

Naize will be sentenced to probation, community service and possibly jail time. He could be called to testify against former colleagues and could be ordered to pay restitution.

The tribe's elections office says the guilty plea would have forced Naize from his position as speaker and a tribal lawmaker had he not resigned Monday.

Navajo lawmaker David Tom also pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit bribery Tuesday.

Both Naize and Tom had been scheduled to go on trial in October.

Feds Unveil Cleanup Plan For Nuclear Waste Dump - The Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Energy says it's committed to cleaning up and resuming operations at the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico by early 2016, work that's expected to cost more than $240 million.

The details were included in a recovery plan released Tuesday by the department. The plan outlines what needs to be done to safely decontaminate the underground facility.

Shipments of plutonium-contaminated waste from federal installations around the country have been on hold since February. That's when a truck fire and an unrelated release of radiation several days later forced the closure of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

The plant is the government's only permanent repository for waste such as contaminated gloves, tools and clothing from decades of nuclear bomb building.

Governor Wins Challenge Over Green Building Codes - The Associated Press

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has won a legal challenge over her administration's repeal of "green" building standards implemented when Democrat Bill Richardson was governor.

The state Court of Appeals last week upheld a decision by the state Construction Industries Commission to revamp building codes.

The court had set aside a commission attempt in 2011 to overhaul the Richardson administration's building requirements for energy efficiency.

The commission readopted its code revision last year and tried to address the court's earlier ruling that it hadn't provided sufficient reasons for the changes.

Environmentalists appealed, contending the commission still hadn't justified the code overhaul.

Doug Meiklejohn of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center said Tuesday no decision has been made on whether to take the case to the state Supreme Court.

Democrat Files Ethics Complaint Against Legislator - The Associated Press

A state Democratic Party official alleges ethical misconduct by a Democratic legislator who has broken party ranks to back Republican Gov. Susana Martinez on some issues.

An ethics complaint against Rep. Sandra Jeff of Crownpoint was filed Tuesday with the secretary of state by Democratic Party Executive Director Jon Lipshutz, who alleges Jeff was improperly reimbursed twice for expenses.

The complaint said Jeff received about $2,100 in for mileage and per diem payments for legislative trips last November and December, and she reimbursed herself with nearly $1,300 from her campaign for "gas and food" during the same time.

Jeff didn't immediately respond to an email and telephone message seeking comment.

She lost a court fight to appear on the primary ballot, but is a write-in candidate in the general election.

Feds: NM State Fish Not In Danger Of Extinction - The Associated Press

Federal biologists say there's no danger of the native Rio Grande cutthroat trout going extinct now or in the foreseeable future.

The finding announced Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a blow to environmentalists' efforts to get the fish added to the list of endangered species.

The Center for Biological Diversity argues that the trout are gone from nearly 90 percent of their range in New Mexico and Colorado and that populations are declining.

The Fish and Wildlife Service says it reviewed the best available scientific and commercial information before deciding not to list the fish.

Known for the red slash marks below its jaw and its large irregular spots, the Rio Grande cutthroat was the first North American trout to be recorded by Spanish explorers centuries ago.

New Mexico Hopes 'Singing Road' Curbs Speeding - The Associated Press

New Mexico transportation officials are hoping an experiment along historic Route 66 will curb speeding.

Tigress Productions is creating a 'singing road' between Albuquerque and the mountain community of Tijeras for a new National Geographic Channel series dubbed Crowd Control. The show will debut in November.

The road uses a series of rumble strips to create music. The driver will hear the tune as long as the speed limit is obeyed.

There are only a few such 'singing roads' in the world.

Aside from getting driver to slow down, state Transportation Secretary Tom Church says the rumble strips will keep drowsy drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

He says the goal of the experiment is to change driver behavior in a fun way by giving them a reward if they obey the speed limit.